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Monash expert: World Day Against the Death Penalty

Monash University 2 mins read

In 2023, the focus of World Day Against the Death Penalty (10 October) is on the relationship between the use of the death penalty and torture, be it through forced confessions to obtain convictions, conditions on death row, or methods of executions that cause exceptional pain.

Discrimination – whether it's based on gender, poverty, age, sexual orientation, religious and ethnic minority status, or any other discrimination – can compound the already cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment of individuals sentenced to death. Furthermore, the types of torture and other ill-treatment experienced during the lengthy death penalty process can be varied and numerous.

Monash University experts are available to discuss how law still imposes, condones and enables the death penalty in many countries around the world.  

Associate Professor Mai Sato, Director of Eleos Justice, Monash Faculty of Law
Contact details: +61 481 870 674 or
Read more of Associate Professor Sato’s commentary at Monash Lens.

Sara Kowal, Deputy Director (Practice) of Eleos Justice, Monash Faculty of Law
Contact details: +61 433 126 926  or
Read more of Sara Kowal’s commentary at Monash Lens.

The following can be attributed to Associate Professor Mai Sato and Sarah Kowal:

“The death penalty as currently practised renders it tantamount to torture, including the long anguish of awaiting executions in harsh conditions, followed by an execution marked by pain and suffering. 

“Well over 90 per cent of global executions take place in Asia, which lags behind the global trend towards abolishing the death penalty.

“China is the world’s top executing country, although official numbers remain a state secret.

“The explicit reference to the death penalty as an exception to the right to life in international human rights law has created a challenge in equating the death penalty with torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. Beyond the doctrinal analysis of treaties, the idea that the death penalty does not constitute torture simply lacks persuasion.

“The global movement towards complete abolition of the death penalty was further bolstered this year with Zambia and Ghana abolishing the death penalty through legislative leadership. While complete abolition remains to be realised, Malaysia abolished the mandatory death penalty for all 11 offences.”

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For any other topics on which you may be seeking expert comment, contact Monash University Media on +613 9903 4840 or

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